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mark Mark Brazaitis is the director of the West Virginia Writers’ Workshop. He is the author of four books of fiction, including  The Incurables: Stories, winner of the 2012 Richard Sullivan Prize from the University of Notre Dame Press, and  The River of Lost Voices: Stories from Guatemala, winner of the 1998 Iowa Short Fiction Award. His novel  Julia & Rodrigo won the 2012 Gival Novel Award and will be published in November of 2013. He is also the author of a collection of poems,  The Other Language, which won the 2008 ABZ Poetry Prize. His stories, poems, and essays have appeared in The  Sun, Ploughshares, Shenandoah, Witness, Confrontation, Beloit Fiction Journal, Poetry International, Poetry East, and other literary journals. A former Peace Corps Volunteer and past recipient of an NEA Fellowship, he is the director of the Creative Writing Program at West Virginia University. 

harshmanMarc Harshman’s fourteenth children’s title, FALLINGWATER, co-written with Anna Smucker, about Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic house, has just been published by Roaring Brook/Macmillan.  His most recent full-length collection of poems, BELIEVE WHAT YOU CAN, was published by The Vandalia Press of West Virginia University and was the winner of the 2017 Weatherford Award from the Appalachian Studies Association. His four chapbooks of poetry include ROSE OF SHARON, Mad River, MA.  Periodical publications include The Georgia Review, Emerson Review, The Chattahoochee Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, Gargoyle, and many others in the US and abroad.  His poems have been anthologized by Kent State University, the University of Iowa, University of Georgia, and the University of Arizona. His earlier children’s books include The Storm, a Smithsonian Notable Book and his 2016 release, ONE BIG FAMILY [Eerdmans]. In the spring of 2016 he was also an invited reader at the Greenwich Book Festival in London and he recently returned from performing with Doug Van Gundy a show titled, Running with Whiskey, highlighting poetry, music, and storytelling at venues in Wales including Red House, Merthyr Tydfil.  His monthly show for West Virginia Public Radio, “The Poetry Break,” began airing in January 2016.  He is the seventh poet laureate of West Virginia.  

Leslie PietrzykLeslie Pietrzyk is the author of Pears on a Willow Tree and A Year and a Day (novels). Her collection of unconventionally linked short stories, This Angel on My Chest, won the 2015 Drue Heinz Literature Prize and was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. A new novel, Silver Girl, is forthcoming from Unnamed Press in 2018. Her short fiction and essays have appeared/are forthcoming in Washington Post Magazine, Salon, Southern Review, Gettysburg Review, Hudson Review, The Sun, Shenandoah, Arts & Letters, River Styx, Iowa Review, Washingtonian, The Collagist, and Cincinnati Review. Pietrzyk is a member of the core fiction faculty at the Converse low-residency MFA program and teaches in the MA Program in Writing at Johns Hopkins University. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia. More information:

SYpoltNatalie Sypolt is a writer who lives and works in West Virginia. She is an Assistant Professor of English at Pierpont Community & Technical College. Her work has appeared in a variety of literary journals including  Glimmer TrainAppalachian HeritageWillow SpringsKenyon Review OnlineSuperstition Review, and  Switchback. Natalie is also an editor for the  Anthology of Appalachian Writers, a committee member for the Weatherford Award, and an active book reviewer.